LAS VEGAS – The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) today announced its annual Individual Chapter Leadership Award winners. 
NIRI Board Chair Lee M. Ahlstrom, IRC, said, “I would like to thank the many professionals who are investing their time and talent to produce our chapter and national programs. You are offering your leadership and energy to ensure that NIRI continues to set the global investor relations practices standard.” 
NIRI President and CEO Gary A. LaBranche, FASAE, CAE, said, “I want to personally thank you for investing your time and talent with your chapters, which ensures that NIRI continues to be the global leader of investor relations associations. Your leadership is critical to NIRI’s mission.” 
The 2017-2018 NIRI Individual Chapter Leadership Award winners and associated NIRI chapters are:
  • Isabel Janci of NIRI Atlanta
  • Jason Fredette, IRC, of NIRI Boston
  • Beth Carty of NIRI Capital Area
  • Carol Merry of NIRI Central Ohio
  • Leslie Kratcoski, IRC, of NIRI Chicago
  • Matthew Dennis, CFA, of NIRI Cleveland/Northern Ohio
  • June Vecellio of NIRI Connecticut/Westchester
  • Robert Debs, IRC, of NIRI Dallas-Ft. Worth
  • Sanjay Lad of NIRI Houston
  • Donald Allen of NIRI Kansas City
  • Lori Hillman, IRC, of NIRI Los Angeles
  • Becky Updegraph of NIRI New York
  • Jeanie Herbert of NIRI Orange County
  • Donna St. Germain of NIRI Philadelphia
  • Rebecca Palumbo of NIRI Rocky Mountain
  • Chris Burton of NIRI San Diego
  • Linda Pazin of NIRI San Francisco
  • Geoff Buscher of NIRI Seattle
  • Meghan O'Leary of NIRI Silicon Valley
  • Jeff Huebschen of NIRI Twin Cities  
  • Bernadette McCormick of NIRI Virtual
Deb Wasser, IRC, received the NIRI National Volunteer of the Year Award. This award honors a NIRI member who best exemplifies the NIRI mission of “advancing the practice of investor relations and professional competency and stature NIRI members” at the national level. 
Wasser served on the 2016 and 2017 Annual Conference Committees, and currently is on the Senior Roundtable Steering Committee. She has authored several articles for NIRI’s magazine, IR Update. She has served as a speaker for many years at both national and chapter events. Her leadership includes board positions at NIRI New York, serving as Membership Chair and NextGen Director. 
NIRI also awarded Chair Awards of Excellence to recognize chapters for support of key NIRI objectives, including membership growth and support of the Investor Relations Charter (IRC) credential and advocacy. 
The Chair Award is for Excellence in Membership Retention was awarded to NIRI Connecticut/Westchester. This chapter had the highest retention rate of all NIRI chapters, with more than 80 percent of their members renewing over the past year. 

NIRI Orange County received a Chair Award for Excellence in Membership Growth. This chapter grew by an incredible 11 percent despite a shrinking local public company market.

NIRI San Diego was honored with the “Phoenix Award” as the most improved chapter.  This chapter started the program year with re-energized leadership and enthusiasm, which resulted increased participation in chapter meetings. More than 75 members attended a recent meeting, an amazing number for a small chapter.

NIRI New York was honored with the Chair Award for Excellence in the Advancement of the Investor Relations Charter. This chapter embraced the IRC, with its own IRC web page, press releases of new chapter charter holders, and more.

NIRI Capital Area received a Chair Award for Excellence in Advocacy Support. This chapter supports NIRI with volunteers during Leadership Week in September, actively participates in the Advocacy Ambassador Program, communicates NIRI’s advocacy initiatives to members on a regular basis, and has drafted comment letters to the SEC.      

These awards were presented at the NIRI Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on June 9 in Las Vegas, site of the 2018 NIRI Annual Conference (, the world’s largest investor relations education and networking event.

About the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI)
Founded in 1969, NIRI is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants responsible for communication among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts and other financial community constituents. NIRI is the largest professional investor relations association in the world with more than 3,300 members representing over 1,600 publicly held companies and $9 trillion in stock market capitalization.

Contact: Contact: Ted Allen, 703-562-7681, 202-744-6763,